When Hi-Tech Security Solutions magazine approached me to comment on the subject of mitigating risk when the budget is limited, I was intimidated. Until I realised with a grin that women in the security industry are in fact uniquely positioned to tackle this topic.
You see, most of us love clothes and we want to wear quality without breaking the budget. This means that season after season, the requisite clothing-closet purge will be undertaken. Spouses, pets and children run for cover as item after item is thrown onto the bed as we root into our clothing cupboards (and theirs). Empty coat hangers fly. Shoes are tossed over-shoulder with a satisfying thud. There are entire videos dedicated to this process on YouTube and we google them all with great enthusiasm. It’s a process of organised chaos. My Rottweiler has learned to avoid these sessions as skilfully as he avoids the sound of the hosepipe turning on for his weekly bath.
Light humour aside, the idea here is sound:
a.) Make the most of what you’ve got.
b.) Invest in one or two quality basics for the long haul.
c.) Round off the look with a few inexpensive seasonal accessories.
I might take that summer dress which I’ve been wearing with sandals, add a denim jacket and heels, and it will take me through autumn. When I add a few investment pieces to my wardrobe this winter, these are probably going to be a great blazer and a good pair of winter boots, in basic colours which will go with everything that I already own. And my budget buys will probably be cheerful winter scarves in the season’s hues. With just a little planning, I will be set for the season.
What does this have to do with risk, safety and security? Well, perhaps more than what one might think. If the available security spend right now is somewhere between limited and non-existent, here are just a few suggestions, keeping the three industry pillars of manpower, technology and processes in mind.
Making the most of what is already in place:
Manpower: A manpower team is only ever going to be as good as the service provider looking after it. So if you have not been entirely happy, and have given the provider every opportunity, consider a change. There are some really good guarding providers in the industry and most will ethically take over the officers already deployed to your property, as long as the current team passes that new provider’s rigorous selection process.
Technology: Redeploying existing, ageing CCTV cameras is often overlooked when properties are preparing to upgrade. Consider a thorough CCTV audit before budgeting for an upgrade. The cost of the audit represents approximately 0,5% of what the upgrade will cost, yet represents a saving of up to 30% of the total upgrade bill in the long run.
The quality investment
Manpower: The addition of a contract manager/supervisor to an existing guarding team simply cannot be overstated. This important person, working Monday to Friday 08h00 to 17h00, will add value which outweighs the additional monthly cost by miles. Make sure that the person is the right fit and negotiate that the impact of this new role is measurable over a trial period of, say, 90 days. Most providers will be willing to carry the risk.
Technology: Using the right technology in the right critical area cannot be overstated. For example, when I see PTZ cameras promising to mimic what thermal analytics can do on a perimeter, I cringe. This is not to say that a PTZ on a perimeter might not indeed be appropriate in certain instances. But thermal/analytics and PTZs have very specific and very different job descriptions. A PTZ cannot provide an impenetrable perimeter, it’s just that simple. So investigate first, to invest wisely.
The season piece
Manpower and technology through processes: Processes! Processes! Processes! It is the intelligent combination of manpower and technology coming together into a cohesive whole through processes, which adds the value that your security spend may be lacking.
Consider a thorough analysis of the processes in place and then do it all again every six months. Analyses can be time-consuming, but represent relatively little financial cost.
A good consultant will spend many days on your site delving into the processes in place – something which your provider may not have the time to do – and will suggest areas which could benefit from a little tweaking and tightening up. Some will even do so at no charge, as a value-add to other invoiceable services.
PS: The exercise does not have to ruffle feathers. It can in fact be an exercise in tact and most providers on site will welcome the help.
Kleyn Consulting is an independent risk, safety and security consultancy with experience in a range of verticals. Based in the Western Cape Winelands, Lesley-Anne travels across South Africa. Feel free to contact her on +27 64 410 8563 or email@example.com
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